Social selling: an essential B2B skill

The B2B marketing landscape is changing rapidly. Probably the biggest adjustment is in the sales approach. In a world where buyers are more informed and demanding than ever before, B2B sales reps must evolve to offer a fluid, personalized buying experience based on trust. In this context, social selling, particularly via LinkedIn and Sales Navigator, has become an essential skill.

The majority of the B2B purchasing process begins on the Web. Before even contacting a supplier, decision-makers compare, research and inform themselves. They often know more about the competition than the vendor they’re talking to. LinkedIn, as the socio-professional network of reference, becomes a crucial platform for social selling.

Mastering this digital space offers sales reps a considerable competitive advantage over those who don’t. By knowing more about their competitors’ offerings and the business context of their potential customers (prospects), and having been in continuous contact during the buying process, sales reps are in a better position to assess the context in which the sale will take place.

Building trust

More than just a technique, social selling is a philosophy, a business approach. It advocates building authentic relationships based on trust. For salespeople who still practice “know, like and trust”, social selling accelerates and reinforces these three steps. By sharing valuable content, interacting regularly and demonstrating solid expertise, salespeople position themselves as reliable and competent partners.

What’s more, a well-built profile allows your potential customer (prospect) to get to know you better, making it easier for them to pay attention to your expertise and build trust more quickly. Don’t forget: the world of B2B marketing, despite its technical and financial challenges, is still a human one.

You’re interacting with one person, but you’re still selling to a group of individuals. Sales Navigator’s account mapping enables you to see who else may be involved in a deal. This gives you a better understanding of the decision-making process within the target company, and enables you to integrate the other players involved in the file into the discussion with your contact.

Social selling means adding a personal dimension to online business exchanges. Instead of practicing “Connect&Pitch”, salespeople who fully embrace social selling are genuinely interested in the people they meet online, as well as in their professional needs and challenges.

Your secret weapon: Sales Navigator

Sales Navigator stands out in this digital ecosystem. It amplifies LinkedIn’s capabilities, offering salespeople advanced search, targeting, follow-up and interaction capabilities. It’s a prospecting tool unrivalled in the market. Combined with the intelligent use of a CRM, Sales Navigator becomes a highly effective ally for all sales representatives.

The digital age offers an abundance of information. Your sales reps who know how to navigate this tide of information capitalize on trends, monitor the competition and gather valuable feedback to anticipate and respond to market needs.

Once again, even the basic version of Sales Navigator provides you with company data that enables you to better understand the current state of the business and the trends that affect it through the increase or decrease of the workforce in each of the company’s departments. You’re also kept abreast of the movements of the company’s key employees.

A multi-channel approach

Social selling does not replace traditional methods. It enriches them. Today’s B2B marketing salesperson must skillfully juggle digital interactions with more conventional approaches, creating a rich and complete customer experience.

Email. An essential part of the digital landscape. It’s the backbone of sales communication. The trace that remains. Especially in the context of a long, complex sale, you won’t be jumping on the phone every week to follow up.

Key moments in the decision-making process and the dispatch of important documents are still handled by this medium. In very long cycles, you might consider automating certain e-mails, especially in the discovery and consideration phases. These e-mails maintain contact, educate the potential customer (prospect) and, if correctly parameterized, enable the salesperson to follow his or her progress through the buying cycle.

And the others…

Texting. Privileged, rapid access for the new generation of decision-makers. Short messages, with a focus on faster feedback than other channels.

Video. Increasingly present on all communication platforms. In an e-mail or in private messages on social networks such as Linkedin. The best substitute for in-person presence. Be yourself, natural but not too “scripted”. This approach offers an excellent response rate.

Phone calls. Traditional, yes. But let’s not forget the role of the cell phone. While a call to a corporate number retains a certain decorum, a call to a cell phone, very often in the car, is generally more direct and to the point.

Website landing pages and CRM. Tracking activity on landing pages, combined with all the information logged in the CRM, will enable a sales representative to intervene in the right place, at the right time and in the right way, thus delivering a positively memorable customer experience to potential or current customers.

With the tools to listen and communicate effectively with their habits, a salesperson becomes an ally with whom they like to chat, and who gives them confidence. All that’s left is to master the fundamentals of sales to make both customer and employer happy 🙂

Conclusion 

Mastering social selling is more than a skill: it’s a necessity. It enables B2B marketing representatives to remain relevant, competitive and bring real added value to their customers. In today’s digital landscape, those who integrate these tools and methods will be the ones leading the way.

Not only will they continue to ride the digital wave, but they will also be better equipped to survive the artificial intelligence tsunami currently sweeping across the competitive landscape. Want to find out more about social selling and Sales Navigator? Get in touch with us. Our experts are here to help you “navigate” this new techno-marketing universe.

By the way, we’re preparing a webinar on LinkedIn and Sales Navigator, stemming directly from the talk we’ll be giving at AQT’s Big Bang on October 24 at 2:30pm. If you’re interested in taking part in a webinar on the subject, let us know by sending us a message on our contact page.

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